San Diego, CA (July 18, 2016) – Please join the U.S. Rugby Foundation in congratulating 2014 Graham Downes Rugby Scholarship recipient Ben Pinkelman (pictured left) on his selection to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Men’s Rugby Team. Ben was one of the 12 selected by coach Mike Friday and his staff to Defend the Gold in Rio. (Photo courtesy of Power Sport.)
Soon after returning from his four-week Graham Downes Rugby Scholarship at the Sharks Academy in Durban, South Africa, Ben started to become a frequent attendee of the U.S. High Performance Camps at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA, all while juggling school and rugby at Colorado State University. Ben showed a maturity beyond his 22 years as he excelled at school and still managed to play in six World Sevens Series events. But that was more than enough appearances to show the coaching staff that he had all the attributes needed to be a valuable player on this year’s Olympic team. Ben scored eight tries in 36 Series matches, was a reliable defender with a big work rate, and became one of the Eagles main restart weapons.
Ben’s fellow Olympians on the men’s team are: Madison Hughes (Captain), Perry Baker, Danny Barrett, Garrett Bender, Andrew Durutalo, Nate Ebner, Carlin Isles, Folau Niua, Zack Test, Maka Unufe and Chris Wyles.
The U.S. Olympic Women’s Rugby Team, coached by Richie Walker, consists of: Jillion Potter, Kelly Griffin, Kathryn Johnson, Alev Kelter, Bui Baravilala, Lauren Doyle, Victoria Folayan, Carmen Farmer, Joanne Fa’avesi, Richelle Stephens, Ryan Carlyle and Jessica Javelet.
Congratulations Ben and the best of luck to both teams in Rio!